Barcelona has failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2003/04 campaign; Xavi: “We have to start to get Barca back where they belong, which is not in the Europa League. This is also a hammer blow for me as a coach”
What Xavi has said:
An “angry” Xavi said things have to change at Barcelona after they were knocked out of the Champions League following a 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Barca have failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2003/04 season when they competed in the UEFA Cup.
Goals from Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, and Jamal Musiala completed a 3-0 victory for Bayern Munich over Barca at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, ensuring Xavi’s side finished third in Group E and that they will compete in the Europa League round of 32 next year.
Xavi, who has overseen two wins, a draw, and two defeats since being appointed first-team coach, lambasted his players after the final whistle and conceded that Barca is no longer at the same level as Bayern.
“Bayern dominated us,” he said. “We always want to dominate but it was the opposite here. We must demand more. We’re Barca. This must be a point of inflection to change the dynamic and many more things. “This is the Champions League, but this is also our reality. It’s the situation we’re in. I’m angry. This is the reality and it p***es me off. We have to tackle it face-on. There’s nothing else for it.
“A new era starts today. We start from zero. Our objective is the Champions League, not the Europa League, but that is our reality now and we have to try and win it.”
“I’ve seen how tough the reality is,” Xavi added.
“I hoped we would compete better. Bayern is better. That’s the reality. But we’re going to work hard and give our all so that this doesn’t happen again. It’s a feeling of helplessness.
“We have to start to get Barca back where they belong, which is not in the Europa League. This is also a hammer blow for me as a coach. We will work hard to bring Barca back, but we have to change a lot, of course.”
Current Situation of FC Barcelona:
Barca now faces Osasuna, Elche, and Sevilla in La Liga before the league’s short winter break, with Xavi’s side seventh in the Spanish top flight and trailing leaders Real Madrid by 16 points.
From the highs of two recent trebles to the lows of Europa League football, Barca are no longer among the game’s elite
For the first time in over two decades, Barcelona has suffered a Champions League group-stage knockout. Fans will have to get used to the unfamiliar feeling of Thursday night games in a competition the club has never played in since it was rebranded as the Europa League.
That change will be the first of many, as new coach Xavi saw the scale of the rebuild needed to be laid bare on Wednesday night at a chilly Allianz Arena.
The cold truth is this may be the last Wednesday night date in Europe Barca have for some time because they have a fight on their hands to finish in the top four in La Liga and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The 3-0 thrashing by Bayern Munich is just the latest gut-punch; the Catalans are reaping what they have sown over the past few seasons, with the chief culprit former president Josep Maria Bartomeu. How has Barca fallen this far? “The management, it’s as simple as that,” said Gerard Pique on Tuesday.